Thursday, November 26, 2009

'We don't want to reinvent the wheel' - an interview with D4Science

It's day two of the D4Science World User Meeting in Rome - a very lively day of discussions here at the FAO.

Despite the full agenda I managed grab a few free moments with D4Science's scientific coordinator, Donatella Castelli, during lunch. Donatella is based at the National Research Council, ISTI-CNR in Pisa, and she spoke to me about this very first World User Meeting and her hopes for D4Science.

GridCast: What is the D4Science project?

Donatella: The D4Science project aims to construct an infrastructure which facilitates the aggregation of resources, as well as services that allow the user to process these resources and computing research capabilities for performing the processing.

Once you have aggregated this content and resources what you can do is to create, on demand, what we call a virtual research environment (VRE) that exploits these resources. Our aim is to reduce the cost of creating this VRE by offering this infrastructure as a third party service which serves multiple communities. The other important point is that through the infrastructure you can share resources and cross disciplinary research can be done more easily.

GC: What do you hope to achieve from this D4Science meeting?

D: The objective of this meeting was not only to disseminate the idea that we have but to gather further requirements for D4Science-II. Especially in the session from this morning, the objective is to understand from real people, the people that use this data in this particular community, what their needs are and which of these needs have not already been covered. This will be used by us to essentially drive the work plan that we will have in D4Science-II. Our other objective is to see if - all these projects that we saw yesterday - if they can contribute to the infrastructure. We don't want to reinvent the wheel. So if they have developed particular searches that are useful to this community then we'd like to include that in the infrastructure.

GC: Do you think the meeting has been a success so far?

D: I think so because if you think about how many people from all of the world have participated in this meeting – maybe they didn't catch everything - but at least now they have an understanding that there is something in the world that is called D4Science. [Now they know] that there is a technology that is an e-infrastructure that can help them.

[The meeting has] created a lot of networking and I hope that […] this infrastructure will be spread in this community. I am convinced that technology can also push organisations so I really hope that what we are proposing now as a technology will also influence the way in which they work.

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